Saturday, October 29, 2011

Book Review: Threads Sewing Guide

Threads Sewing Guide: A Complete Reference from America's Best-loved Sewing MagazineThis book is billed as a complete reference. That's a little ambitious and, unfortunately, untrue for this book.  Comprehensive? Yes. Complete? No. The title of "complete" goes to the Reader's Digest Sewing book, The Complete Book of Sewing and Vogue Sewing. In comparison to the first two books, where this book excels are the Sewing Machine & Sergers chapter and Essential Tools & Supplies. That information is about the same as the Vogue book, but I prefer this book's photos to the drawings in the Voge book. The same goes for The Closures and Trim & Embellishments chapters.

The info is presented in a very easy-to-understand manner. The layout is clean and modern. The photos are beautiful. I like these better than those in the magazine.

Chapters I Love
  • Darts -- Info on balancing darts that I haven't seen in other sewing books. (It is on one of the Threads' Industry Insider DVDs)
  • Godets
  • Serger Sewing
  • Serger Stitches
  • Tailoring
  • Shoulder Pads
  • Fundamentals of Couture Sewing (for the true beginner)
  • Section XIV:  Sewing Specialty Fabrics
  • Common Quick Fixes (mending & repair)

  • Princess Seams -- there's no mention of how to sew these
  • Clipping & Notching -- there's a new method covered in one of the Industry Insider DVD's that's not included here
  • Easing Sleeves -- Nancy Zieman and I think Sandra Betzina use finger easing, which isn't presented here
  • Pattern Alterations -- as far as general sewing books go, Vogue Sewing, Revised and Updated is better.
I guess this is a beginner/intermediate book. I would not choose it over the titles I mentioned earlier, but I think it supplements those nicely. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I Like -- New McCall's

McCall's Holiday 2011 patterns are here! Aren't these cute??!

M6489 -- love it! Very romantic.

M6464 -- Palmer/Pletsch. It will fit!

M6462 -- too short as is for me, but still cute.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Book & DVD Review: Sewing A to Z

Nancy Zieman's Sewing A to Z DVDI am a big fan of Nancy Zieman's books. She can distill difficult techniques with clear and concise language. In that respect, this book does not disappoint. When I think about Zieman's contributions to the sewing community, to me, she is known for great gadgets and notions and finding novel ways of doing things.  This book delivers both.

Here's what's covered in the book:
  • Anchor Cloth
  • Applique
  • Basting
  • Belt Loops
  • Bias
  • Binding (quilting)
  • Blanket Stitching
  • Blind Hemming
  • Buttonholes
  • Buttons
  • Casings
  • Chain Stitch (quilting)
  • Circles 
  • Cutting, Patterns
  • Cutting, (quilting)
  • Darts (unique technique)
  • Decorative Stitches
  • Double Needles
  • Easing Seams
  • Easing Sleeves (unique technique)
  • Edgestitching
  • Elastic Types
  • Elastic, Basic Technique
  • Elastic, Clear Technique
  • Fabric Tubes (gadget/notion)
  • Facings
  • Fusible Web
  • Gathers (unique technique)
  • Grading
  • Grainline
  • Half-Square Triangles (quilting)
  • Hems
  • Hooks & Eyes
  • Interfacing
  • Jackets, Extended Facings
  • Jackets, Sleeve Lining
  • Knit, Identification
  • Knit, Seams (unique technique)
  • Knit, Types
  • Layering a Quilt
  • Layout
  • Marking
  • Mitered Corners, Pockets
  • Mitered Corners, Quilt Borders
  • Nap
  • Needles
  • Nips
  • Notches
  • Organizing, Fabric
  • Organizing, Needles
  • Organizing, Patterns
  • Organizing, Projects
  • Patch Pockets
  • Pintucks
  • Piping
  • Pivoting
  • Pleats
  • Pocket Flaps
  • Quarter Marks, Pins
  • Quarter Marks, Pressing
  • Quarter-Square Triangles (quilting)
  • Quilting Options
  • Ribbing
  • Ripping
  • Rod Pocket
  • Ruffles
  • Seam Finishes
  • Seams, French
  • Seams, Traditional
  • Serging, Chain Stitch
  • Serging, Cover Stitch
  • Serging, Flatlock Stitch
  • Serging, Overlock Stitch (4-thread and 3-thread)
  • Serging, Rolled Edges
  • Serging, Rolled Lettuce Edge
  • Sleeves (unique technique)
  • Snaps, Basic
  • Snaps, Swing/Hanging
  • Squaring a Quilt Top
  • Stabilizers
  • Staystitching
  • Strata
  • Tension
  • Thread
  • Topstitching
  • Underlining
  • Understitching
  • Vinyl
  • Waistband
  • Wrapped Corners
  • Yo-Yos
  • Zigzag stitch
  • Zippers (centered, lapped, invisible and exposed)
There are also "Notes from Nancy" peppered throughout the book. The book would be great for a beginner's sewing library. The way Zieman presents her techniques adds nice clarity and, in some cases, new approaches to the techniques presented in other books.

The DVD is excellent.  Zieman is a great educator and techniques are demonstrated in her usual clear style. All of the topics in the book aren't covered by the DVD. You can certainly use the book without the DVD, but I do recommend both. My only complaint about the DVD is that two of the topics are listed under bonus material and so you have to go through an extra menu to get to them.

Test drive the DVD here, here and here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New Simplicity!

The Simplicity Winter/Holiday collection is here.

I have heart for these:

1945 -- looks comfy and you can dress it up or down as needed.
Misses' & Plus Size Sportswear

1944 -- love the jacket
Misses' Sportswear
1941 -- especially because of the multiple cup sizes
Misses' Amazing Fit Top
This doesn't affect me, but I guess the big news is Suede Says for Men!
Men's Jackets SUEDEsays Collection Men's Pants SUEDEsays Collection